Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday asked for and won the endorsement of Cook County Democratic Party officials in his bid for a full term, a move challenger Dan Hynes, the state's comptroller, blasted as hypocritical because Quinn has opposed candidate slating before.
While Quinn sought the backing of leaders from one of the state's largest voting blocs, Hynes urged party leaders not to endorse in the governor's race.
"Long before becoming governor, Pat Quinn sought a reputation as an outsider in part by railing against the very entity whose support he eagerly accepts today. It would seem that his prior support for open primaries was nothing more than political rhetoric," Hynes said in a statement.
Quinn supported a provision in a proposed ethics bill that ultimately was vetoed that would have prohibited the state Democratic Party from slating candidates like Cook County officials did.
Quinn argued that an endorsement from Cook County Democrats was different from state party backing. He said he was glad to get the Cook County endorsement.
"Throughout my career in public service, I have won endorsements from political groups, civic groups, and labor organizations throughout our state," Quinn said in a statement, adding that he plans to continue seeking support.
Quinn accused Hynes of being disingenuous for asking party leaders not to endorse in the governor's race.
"I tell you where the flip-flop is: My friend the comptroller has been coming before the Cook County Democratic Party and other Democratic parties since he started running for office. He always asks for their support," Quinn said after making a speech to party leaders.
In his speech, Quinn reminded them about the tough situation he inherited when he became governor in January. Quinn replaced ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich after lawmakers removed Blagojevich from office after his arrest on federal corruption charges.
Hynes, who is part of a well-know Democratic family, implored local party leaders not to try to sway voters in advance of the February primary.
"They're counting on us to say that the Democratic Party stands for openness and transparency, that it is they, not us, who will choose the standard-bearer for our party. To achieve this, we must have an open election for governor," Hynes said.
A third candidate, Bill "Dock" Walls, also sought support in his bid for the Democratic nomination race for governor. Walls previously has run unsuccessfully for Chicago mayor.